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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2029

Last Minute Changes / News

Walk Posters: Use Chrome! See here for why, and how to publish future dated posts

Autumn colour: a good year for anthocyanins: see Nature Blog

Friday, 8 August 2025

Annual Events

Jan

Canary Wharf Light Festival

Feb
Mar
Apr

Spring gardens : azaleas in Saville Gardens (Windsor), Isabella Plantation(Richmond Park)

May

Spring Gardens (continued)

Ashwell at Home - Baldock Circular - usually about the 2nd Sunday in May (on May 10th in 2020)

Jun

leigh on sea folk festival, ~ late jun

lavender season

Jul

Sandwich folk festival ~ 4 & 5 July

Aug

Pride Parade in brighton, ~ 1st Sat in Aug

Sep
Oct

Deer Rut (Royal Parks)

Sussex Bonfires

Autumn leaf colour

Nov

Lewes and Brokham Bonfires

Leaf colour

Dec

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Scotland: Roybridge

Due to current advice from the Government and BMC to stay home (and off mountains), the trip to Roybridge planned for 16 May to 23 May 2020 has been postponed to 22-29 May 2021. The trip will go ahead as originally planned at that time.
For more information on the area, see Roybridge information. For more information about the trip and to check availability, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Sunday Walk - Over the South Downs to the Sea: Lewes to Seaford or Bishopstone via West Firle

Length: 23.7 km/14.7 mi [shorter options available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 544/545m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¾ hours 
Toughness: 8 out of 10 
 
Take the 09.45  Ore train from Victoria (Clapham 09.52, EC 10.02), arrives Lewes at 11.03. 
From Thameslink stations take the Brighton train calling LBG at 09.37 and change at Gatwick Airport (10.16/10.28). 
Return trains  are on xx.31 and xx.59. Buy a Seaford (Sussex) return.
 
From Lewes, the route takes a variation of the familiar south easterly route out of Lewes: cross the River Ouse in the town centre and climb a lane to a golf club car-park. You then follow a circular ridge route, with glorious views throughout followed by a long descent into Glynde. From Glynde station, go through the village to cross over the A24 and pass Preston Court Farm. You go through the entrance to Firle Park, cross a field and enter the village of West Firle for lunch and drinks at the Ram Inn.
Continue through West Firle to start a long climb up to a spot near Firle Beacon. Head westerly to the transmission masts on Beddingham Hill and descend with glorious views to the seafront promenade in Bishopstone and on along the coast to Seaford. 
 
You have four options for shortening the walk:
Lewes to Seaford omitting West Firle 18.6 km (11.6 m);
Glynde to Seaford via West Firle 16.8km (10.5m);
Glynde to Seaford omitting West Firle 12.5km (7.8m);
finish at Bishopstone station (cuts 2.0 km). 
 
Lunch: The Ram Inn  in West Firle  (9.0 km/5.6 mi, food to 15.00, bar menu all day). 
Tea: Plenty of choice in Seaford, the walk author recommends Salts Café. 
 
For  walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.181

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Saturday Walk Sunningdale to Windsor - Virginia Water, Windsor Great Park, the Long Walk, and Windsor Castle - for Evensong in St George's Chapel

Book 1 Walk 18 - Sunningdale to Windsor

Length: 17 km (10.6 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10


London Waterloo:  09-46 hrs     South Western service to Reading     Clapham Junction 09-54 hrs
Arrive Sunningdale: 10-38 hrs

Return

Windsor & Eton Riverside to Waterloo:  03 & 33 past the hour  (journey length 1hr 08 mins)

Windsor & Eton Central to Paddington, changing at Slough: 05, 25 & 45 mins past the hour (journey length 29 to 33 mins)

Rail ticket:  if returning from the Riverside station, buy an off peak day return to Windsor plus a single from Staines to Sunningdale. If returning from the Central station, probably best to buy separate singles.


Although the best time of year to do this walk is in May, when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in full flower, it makes for a most pleasant, undemanding outing at any time of year, with autumn colours to enjoy today and maybe some flowers in Valley Gardens.

Leaving Sunningdale the route of today's walk takes you through Cowarth Park and its polo playing fields and then by Virginia Water to Valley Gardens, with maybe some flower displays, then you head down to the Totem pole before continuing to Savill Gardens for lunch at its very respectable cafeteria - The Savill Garden Kitchen, now operated by Bengo, open for lunch or cream teas from 12 noon until 4 pm. There are plenty of attractive places nearby, including the banks of Obelisk Pond, for picnickers. 

After lunch you walk through Englefield Green before entering Windsor Great Park for your walk from the Copper Horse along the seemingly never-ending Long Walk to the foot of Windsor Castle. You should have time for tea at one of the many establishments in Windsor before entering St George's Chapel (no entry charge) at 17-15 hrs for Evensong, for those interested in choral singing during a short Anglican church service, for a peaceful, reflective end to your day. Otherwise, SWC walkers usually make for one of the Riverside pubs for a few tinctures before making for one of Windsor's two railway stations for your journey home. 
T=1.18

Walk Directions are here: L=1.18





Saturday Walk - Pewsey Vale and Marlborough Downs: Pewsey Circular

One of the best walks within an hour of London, surely?
 
Length: 26.8 km/16.7 mi [shorter options available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 413m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 hours
Toughness: 7 out of 10 
 
Take the 08.36  Exeter St. David’s train from Paddington (Reading 09.01), arrives Pewsey at 09.34. 
Return trains  are on 17.06, 19.23 and 20.45.  
Cheap Advance Tickets  are available at time of posting. With a Network Railcard, split the ticket at Newbury.
 
This is an exhilarating excursion through the solitude of the Vale of Pewsey, which separates the chalk upland of the North Wessex Downs to the north from that of Salisbury Plain to the south, including an ascent up the southerly hill chain of the Marlborough Downs, from where there are stunning far views in all directions over this land of wave-like hills, with its scarps, ridges and valleys. It is a mysterious landscape, full of pre-historic earthworks and hillforts as well as barrows – burial mounds of kings and warriors. Part of the walk leads along the Wansdyke – an earth bank and deep ditch running east to west – which sporadically links Bristol to Marlborough. It was built by the beleaguered Romano-British Celts – after being deserted by the Romans in the 5th century – as a fortification to stem the Saxon advance. From there it is just a short walk to Wiltshire’s highest peak (Milk Hill) with its stunning steep serrated Down and then to the Alton Barnes White Horse – cut into the hillside in 1812. After a scenic descent into the Vale of Pewsey, an undemanding stretch along the Kennet & Avon Canal leads back to Pewsey with its tea options. 
 
Shortcuts reduce the rating of this walk to 6/10 or even 5/10.
 
Lunch/Tea: Honeystreet Mill Cafe and The Barge Inn, both in Honeystreet (19.6 km/12.2 mi into the full walk). 
More than a handful of tea options  just off-route in Wilcot and in Pewsey. For details see the walk directions pdf. 
 
For  walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.127

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Back by Demand Evening Walk: From Crime Scene to Prison (Westminster to the Tower)

Remember remember the 5th of November: A Guy Fawkes Special Thames Path Walk

Start:     6:30 PM Vauxhall Tube Station

Finish:    Tower Bridge or London Bridge

Distance:    About 6.5 km/4.0 miles

Following on from our successful summer season and some further requests for evening walks...this is a short Thames Path walk through Central London (hopefully much quieter than usual)....Passing by the main events associated with Guy Fawkes and the Gun Powder Plot.

This will be "map-led" though a map is not really required. From the Vauxhall Tube Station we will follow the South Bank Thames Path eastwards (i.e. river on your left) to the Millennium Bridge where we will cross and turn right to follow the North Bank Thames Path to the Tower.....

I imagine that we will find some outdoor refreshment spots along the way and the Vinegar Yard near London Bridge offers covered and heated outdoor refreshments towards the end...

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Wednesday Walk Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard - Back, Buttermilk and Duncombe Woods, Great Brickhill, Rushmere Park, the River Ouzel and the Grand Union Canal

Book 1 Walk 41 - Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard

Length: 14.7 km (9.1 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10 (upwards to 4 when very muddy)


London Euston: 10-15 hrs    West Midland Trains service to Birmingham New Street 
Arrive Bletchley: 11-49 hrs  Disembark
Leave Bletchley on bus service to Bedford: 11-01 hrs
Arrive Bow Brickhill station: 11-10 hrs

Return

Leighton Buzzard to Euston: trains at 16-07, 16-34, 16-54, 17-07, 17-42, 17-55, 18-09, 18-34 and later

Rail ticket: buy an off-peak day return to Bow Brickhill

We tend to avoid walks with replacement bus services, but today the "inconvenience" of a connecting bus at Bletchley only lasts for 9 minutes, so we will accept it today.

This is a short(ish), mostly woodland walk best walked at this time of year to enjoy some lovely late autumn leaf colour, particularly after lunch in Rushmere Park where the oak trees should be in full leaf colour.

After leaving Bow Brickhill station the route takes you up into, then down through, Back Wood, which is likely to be muddy to very muddy in places today. This wood is a bit of a pig all year round for slubberdub mud, so no bad thing when you extricate yourselves from it and make for the more genteel Buttermilk Wood. Onwards then through Duncombe Wood then along a track through farmland to the village of Great Brickill for lunch at the Old Red Lion pub, or for a picnic nearby. An alternative lunch stop on this walk comes in Rushmere Park - if its cafeteria is open today.

After Great Brickhill you have arguably the best bit of today's walk - the leg through Rushmere Park - an oak wood which should be in full leaf colour.  Then you have a leg above the River Ouzel before crossing over water meadows to join the Grand Union Canal for an early tea stop at the Globe Inn.  You then have a relaxing walk along the canal's tow path to the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard. The short walk from the town's bridge to the railway station is dreary but thankfully short: I am sure there must be some attractive parts to Leighton Buzzard but I have yet to discover them.
T=1.41

Walk Directions are here: L=1.41

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Sunday Walk: Broxbourne is beckoning

SWC Walk 168: Broxbourne Circular t=swc.168

Distance:  15.1 Miles or 24.3 km (or 11.7 miles/18.8 km using the shorter Bayford option)

Difficulty:  6 out of 10 or 4 out of 10 for the Bayford ending

Train:  Take the 9:57 AM Greater Anglia Cambridge North train from London Liverpool Street, arriving at Broxbourne at 10:23. Return trains from Broxbourne are at 16; 47 and 53 minutes past the hour until quite late on a Sunday……Buy a day return to Broxbourne; unless going to Bayford where a Hertford (All Stations) ticket should work for both out and in bound travel.

This is a perfect walk for this time of year with its extended exploration of various woods…with an added bonus, that the short travel distance from London permits a long walk on a shortish day…..You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch stop is a picnic and/or Covid compliant visit to the Woodman & Olive located 9 miles/14.5 km into the walk (01992 463 719). Back in Broxbourne, Covid-compliant tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at The Bull or White Bear within minutes from the station. On the Bayford ending, the Farmer’s Boy is 10 minutes from the station.

Enjoy the walk!

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Saturday walk - Tring to Berkhamsted by a completely new route

Walk 366: Tring to Berkhamsted by Toms Hill T=3.366

Length: 15.5km (9.6 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

10.03 train from Euston to Tring, arriving at 10.49 *

or

9.40 train from Clapham Junction to Watford Junction, arriving 10.20, to connect to the above train, departing WJ at 10.26

* Just missed the train at Euston? Get the 10.24, arriving Tring at 10.57

Buy a day return to Tring

*** Please meet outside Tring station (turn left on the footbridge), where we will rapidly split into groups of no more than six 

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.

Back in the hot hazy days of summer, the midweek walkers debuted this walk, which takes a quite different route from any other Tring to Berkhamsted walks you may have done. It initially follows the Grand Union Canal, and then goes up into the woods of the Ashridge Estate. Famous last words, but I remember lots of firm-under-foot tracks on this section, overtopped by arching beeches, and I thought then what a good autumn leaf colour walk this would make.

A pub lunch, for those inclined or permitted to do such things, can be had at the Bridgewater Arms, the familiar lunch stop on the other Tring walks. In the afternoon you then get a close-up view of Ashridge College, the former grand mansion of the estate, and discover some WW1 training trenches in the woods. Descent to Berkhamsted is by a ridge with fine views (again, different from the one used by the book one walk). For tea, Berkhamsted has canalside pubs, or cafes in the High Street where you can get takeaways, if no outdoor seating is available.

Trains back from Berkhamsted are at 01, 24 (but 16.26), 30 and 46 past, taking 35 to 40 minutes

For Clapham Junction the easiest train is the 30 past, with a five minute change at Harrow and Wealdstone, taking 1hr 02 minutes. Otherwise the 01 past takes 1hr 09/12 minutes, with changes at Wembley Central and Willesden Junction.


Wendover Circular with Coombe Hill Finish

t=2.1

Length: 18km / 11m
Toughness: 7 / 10
Transport: Take the 9:27 from London Marylebone arriving in Wendover at 10:15. Returns at xx:23 and xx:53

A classic Chilterns walk in hopefully riotous autumn colours.

Saturday Walk - Ancient Forests and Heathlands: Bentley to Farnham

Length: 26.0 km/16.2 mi [shorter options available, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 416/429m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 hours
Toughness: 7 out of 10 
 
Take the 09.00  Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo, change at Woking onto the 08.54 stopping service from Waterloo to Alton (09.24/09.30). 
That train calls Clapham J at 09.01. Train arrives Bentley at 10.02. Buy a Bentley (Hampshire) return. 
Return trains  from Farnham are on xx.28 and xx.58 (direct). There is also a xx.04, changing at Guildford. 
 
This is a varied walk on the Hampshire/Surrey border, incorporating ancient forests (Alice Holt Forest, Farnham Heath and Bourne Wood), some large and popular heathlands on Frensham Common (with several large ponds, one of which has dedicated swimming areas, and the Devil's Jumps) and the more remote Hankley Common, a large Scots Pine and heather-covered area including the heathland ridges of Kettlebury Hill and Yagden Hill, which make for some very scenic views. 
On Hankley Common you have an opportunity to explore a D-Day training site with a replica section of The Atlantic Wall and assorted other defensive structures. From the picturesque village of Tilford, north of Hankley Common, with its pub and cricket pitch on the green you follow quiet woodland paths and lanes (with the occasional steep ascent) to Farnham.
 
Walk Options:
Bus 19 (Haslemere to Aldershot via Farnham, hourly Mon-Sat) to/from Great Pond Car Park (after 9.1 km of walking) enables a very short walk or a late start or a circular or a ‘Lasso’-style route. 
A Shortcut from Frensham Little Pond to Tilford cuts out the Flashes area of Frensham Common with the Devil’s Jumps and all of Hankley Common. [cuts 6.8 km/4.2 mi and 136m ascent, rated 4/10]. 
An Alternative Ending from Tilford along the Greensand Way and the River Wey cuts some steep ascents.
 
Lunch: Several options for elevenses  (see the pdf) plus two principal pub stops
They are the Bel and the Dragon in Churt (13.7 km/8.5 mi, food served to 17.00) or The Barley Mow in Tilford (12.6 km/7.8 mi into the short walk, food served to 15.00). 
Tea: a café en route along the short walk, a pub and a village store in Tilford on all options, plus three pubs in Farnham at the end. See the pdf for details. 
 
For  walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.184